Just One Minute
Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Friday, July 12, 2002

Corporate Ethics Roundup

No, that is not a nominee for "World's Shortest Book". The Post has political highlights, and coverage of Senate action, where Daschle dodged a McCain effort to force stock options to be expensed. Jeff Hauser points us to an interesting Slate piece. And the NY Times declares that House Republicans are racing ahead of George Bush on this issue. I haven't checked my calendar, but I think November 2002 comes before November 2004. Still, this is not the sort of leadership we are looking for from the White House. We recognize that nothing Bush does will satisfy all of his critics on the Left, but hey - how about satisfying me?

Closer to home, and thanks to Susanna Cornett for the links, Charles Murtaugh stabs near the heart of my "Harken Energy won't stick" argument with the very good point that:

"as I've maintained from the outset, Harken-gate is not like the Lewinsky scandal or Whitewater, because people right now care about corporate malfeasance in a way that they didn't care about blowjobs or confusing land deals."

Hmmm. I'll admit to myself that the lying draft dodger (that's Bill, not National Guard Pilot and coulda-been aviation hero George) posed a certain "fitness-to-serve question" as Commander-in-Chief. But I won't say it out loud, because I think, on balance, Murtaugh may be right on the relative significance of the various scandals in question. So, other ways out? Well, Nathan not Lane has an interesting bit of thunder from the left: an election washes all sins clean, and whaddya think the voters expect from a Republican oil businessman, anyway? Off to my right, the Brothers Judd explain that, eventually, a scandal is based on real offenses: Clinton's real, albeit tangential, offenses, outweigh Bush's more relevant, but only alleged, "transgressions".

Probable Murtaugh rebuttal (actually, I could probably find a direct quote, but too much logic and fine rhetoric boggles me this early in the AM): it's not Bush's personal culpability, its the crooked system. Bush worked for a company that tried to fleece its investors. Paul Newman makes a similar point about the Democrats need to attack the system, not Bush.

And do I have a view on any of this? OK, MinuteMan, no "Time will tell" cop-out, CHARGE: The American Family Voices group has an ad saying "the fox is guarding the henhouse". Doesn't anybody want to try the "Set a thief to catch a thief" line? Bush has been in these meetings, he knows the players, he has seen how the system can lead otherwise good men astray: who better to fix it? Nixon to China, Clinton (at gunpoint) to Welfare Reform...why not Bush? And, to reason by further example, as a reformed drunk, Bush has gained credibility on the importance of temperance.

Now I should disclose a personal bias: I like Bush, but I love Clint Eastwood, and his movie "Unforgiven". Man, was I hoping for a Bush defense echoing Clint's "I don't remember much about those days - I was drunk most of the time". Oh well, Bush was born July 6, 1946 and dropped the bottle on his fortieth, so never mind.

UPDATE: Housekeeping news: I'm not perma-linking enough of the folks mentioned above. Not yet, anyway, but we'll wait until Blogger settles down. Meanwhile, one out of three ain't bad.

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